Ten ways I plan to cope with the WGA writers strike
But most of my writing these days is about television!
I recall the last writers strike. It was during that time that I wrote a really horrible horror novel to occupy my time outside of my day job. I'm not doing that again this time. I refuse to spend weeks writing dreck just because the television and film writers are on strike.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not too keen on unions for many things, but the writers in the WGA for the most part don't earn much money -- as a matter of fact at any given time 48% of them are unemployed. These folks depend on the residuals to get them through lean times. I personally think they should get what they're demanding.
But this isn't about them. It's about me.
Yes, it's all about me, self-centered so-and-so that I am. I won't be totally lost because I do like many reality television shows and newsy shows. But I'm picky about my reality television and don't watch more of them than I do despite my reputation of being a reality show freak.The most immediate impact on my life during the writers strike is no Late Show with David Letterman. Argh. I'm a true late night Letterman addict and have been for well over twenty years. Oh, I know I should be going to bed earlier anyway, so that's not so bad. I guess.
But what will I do to fill the hours outside of my day job? What escapes from real reality (or as Court TV to be truTV calls it -- actuality) do I have? I know the holidays are coming, so they will provide me some distraction, but not on a daily "I'm home from work, entertain me" basis. My knee is totally shot and New Jersey is extremely flat where I live, so throwing the skis atop the car for a night-skiing run isn't going to happen. That, along with the horror-ible novel, filled my evenings in the 1988 strike.
What to do? What to do? Feed me! I have to make plans! I can't go into a winter writers strike without some sort of plan for survival! So, I'm laying out ten ways I'll occupy my entertainment time right now just in case the worst case scenario goes down. Despite my reality television leanings, I will miss my Lost, my Heroes, my Law and Order (all franchises), my Big Bang Theory, my How I Met Your Mother, my many scripted addictions. If they go under and aren't on my television season, I refuse to be bereft.
Because I will have my Ten Step Plan for personal entertainment. So there.
1. I have just basic cable with no HBO, but have gotten hooked on The Wire anyway. I have the first three seasons on DVD and the fourth season (expected December 5) pre-ordered. Of course, I watched those three seasons in marathon sessions not long after I bought them. I'll watch them again, this time going for all of the commentary extras. I've already done that for season one, but I can do it for two more seasons and then the new one when it arrives!
2. I will clean the heads on my VCR and go through all of my unlabeled tapes of shows which were so important to tape back when I taped them that I never bothered to label them. Who knows what gems I might find? My collection of unlabeled tapes dates back to the late 80s. It's surely going to be as diverse as my 8-track tape music collection from the 70s. But, at least those are labeled.
3. On the dark and cold winter nights, I will wrap myself up in a warm throw on the recliner chair with a mug of hot chocolate and re-watch all of my movie collection which I own on videotape. I haven't watched many of them in a decade, yet have an extensive library of them, most of which I haven't updated to my DVD collection. Just thinking about it gives me a hankering to watch my videotape of Ursula LeGuin's PBS version of The Lathe of Heaven. Perhaps I'll even put them back on my shelves organized alphabetically or by genre instead of the current mishmash I have them in.
4. I will become a YouTube addict, watching the good, the bad, and the ugly ... then wondering about the hours in my life I will never get back.
5. I know you may laugh at me and think me to be out of tune with the present day, but I'll get my PlayStation (yes, the original one) and I will make it all the way through Crash Bandicoot. Then I might have to tackle Spyro and work my way up to my Die Hard game. The ghosts of defeat by video games for children will finally be in the past.
6. I will record at least two days of every judge show on the air, then write up a compare and contrast article judging the TV judges. After all, there has to be at least ten of those shows on the air these days, right? Maybe I'll even find one on the Spanish language channel and go with my limited command of the language to throw that judge into the fray, too.
7. I will tune into the Food Channel and actually pay strict attention, even trying a recipe or two after Jackie-izing them because I'm a fussy eater. While I watch the food segments of some shows and, of course I enjoy eating, I don't believe I've ever used a recipe from a cooking show. If I'm really lucky, I'll gain the power of Monica from Heroes and take it all in at a glance whipping up a dinner set for food critics to enjoy. You know, she made those tomato roses. I want to do that, too!
8. I will watch more shows on Animal Planet, yet weep every time a meerkat dies even if I've seen them die before.
9. I will develop a fake crush (always to be unrequited, of course) on a local TV meterologist from the NYC viewing market and create exotic fantasies in my mind appropriate to no family venue. My only stumbling block would be which weatherman. John Bolaris? Um, probably not. Al Roker? Hmmm. I don't think so. Sam Champion? His name is cool, but I can see him yelling "I'm the champion" during sweaty moves. Ew. Is Storm Field still around? He always had the best weatherman name! Yeah, a secret fake crush on a weatherman named Storm may have some possibilities, y'think?
10. I will watch the Jeep Liberty commercial with the singing squirrel, birds, and wolf on YouTube over and over again, reenacting it with my two cats until I'm committed to the nearest psychiatric facility. But, at least I'll be committed while singing "Rock Me Gently." After all, it's better than being an ax murderer or something equally evil.
But, most of all ... I would just like the writers of the WGA to get the pay they deserve. They need to support their families. They need their benefits. Although many out there don't think writing is hard work, it's not as easy as you might think. I once again mention my horror-ible novel. The median pay for members of the WGA is only $5,000 a year. That includes the many unemployed writers out there as well as those currently employed. If not for the writers, we wouldn't have the entertainment which enriches our lives so much.
I hope I won't have to use this list.